While all drug cases are not the same they commonly have some of the same defenses. Below is the top 5 defenses to a drug crime in Minnesota.
1. Illegal Search:
The 4th amendment protects individuals and grants them the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall be issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Unless an officer has a legal reason to make contact or expand the scope of the encounter, the search may be illegal. In order to discourage the police from engaging in illegal searches, courts have ruled that evidence obtained through an illegal search or seizure is subject to suppression.
2. Not a valid search warrant:
If the officers have a warrant signed by a judge to search your car, home or person, that does not mean that they did not violate the constitution and your rights. In order to get a warrant, an officer needs to make a sworn affidavit to a judge and ask him to find that they have probable cause to search a particular location for particular evidence. These affidavits regularly have incorrect information or information from unknown individual or informants. The warrant may also be challenged if it is faulty based upon lacking of nexus to what to be search, description of where to searched, and the items to be searched for.
3. Problems with the lab and testing:
Just because something looks like marijuana or another drug, the court will not take the prosecutor or officers at their word. Everyone that touched, processed, or tested the evidence will have to appear in court and testify. If one link in the “chain of custody” is missing the evidence cannot be admitted at trial. Even if something has tested positive, that does not mean the lab is credible. Recently, the St. Paul Crime Lab has come under heat for their poor practices. Because of this cases have been dismissed.
Entrapment takes place when a government agent, typically a police officer, uses threats, harassment, fraud, or even flattery to induce defendants to commit crimes. This can be a great defense if you are charged with sale to an undercover officer in a school or park zone.
5. Not Guilty:
This is the ultimate defense. Innocent people are charged with crimes. This tends to happen more commonly in drug cases. For example, John Smith is driving his friend’s car. His friend forgot his prescription medicine in the glove box. If Mr. Smith is stopped and searched, charges could be filed.